10 Things You Never Knew About 'The Queen's Gambit' Star Anya Taylor-Joy
Thanks to her starring roles in Emma and The Queen’s Gambit, Anya Taylor-Joy has become a double Golden Globes nominee this week. And her star looks certain to continue rising with upcoming roles in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and the Mad Max spin-off movie Furiosa. With this in mind, let’s take a few minutes to get to know this fascinating actress a little better.
1. She holds triple American, Argentine, and British citizenship.
Taylor-Joy was born in Miami, Florida, then spent the early part of her childhood in Buenos Aires, before her family moved to London when she was six. "When I was younger I didn't really feel like I fit in anywhere. I was too English to be Argentine, too Argentine to be English, too American to be anything," she told London's Evening Standard in 2017.
2. Her father is an eminent businessman.
Dennis Taylor has been awarded both an MBE and an OBE for services to British trade with Argentina. According to Powerboat Racing World, he also won a couple world titles in offshore powerboat racing in the '80s.
3. She was badly bullied at school in London.
Taylor-Joy told London's Evening Standard that "the kids just didn’t understand me in any shape or form," and says they even tagged her, cruelly, in a photograph of a fish on Facebook. "My eyes were really far apart — that's a thing," Taylor-Joy said.
"I used to get locked in lockers," she added, "you know, barred from classrooms, not invited to things. It wasn't pleasant."
4. She learned to speak Spanish first, then learned English by reading the Harry Potter novels.
As Taylor-Joy recalled during her recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, she initially refused to speak English when her family moved to London because she wanted to persuade them to return to Buenos Aires.
5. She landed a modeling contract after being scouted outside Harrods.
Taylor-Joy was spotted by Sarah Doukas, the legendary scout who discovered Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, but initially thought she was being trailed by a stalker in car. "I thought 'Oh s**t, this is the end,'" Taylor-Joy told i-D in 2016. "So I picked up my dog and started to run."
However, she was persuaded to listen when a voice from inside the vehicle said: "If you stop you won't regret it... please, there's someone in this car who would really like to meet you." And the following day, she signed to Doukas' agency Storm Model Management.
6. She can play the ukulele and has a great singing voice.
Check out this fan-made video of Taylor-Joy singing on screen and in social posts – she's definitely got chops.
7. She did a lot of ballet as a kid – and says it helped when it came time to film The Queen's Gambit.
"My training as a dancer actually really helped me because I saw it as like dance choreography for your fingers, and I’m good at remembering steps," she told Collider.
8. Her first online screen name was... kind of embarrassing.
"Oh god — I think it was like, 'Kinki Taylor-Joy,' Cause I was 11. And clearly hilarious," she told Buzzfeed.
9. Her The Queen's Gambit role is the one she most relates to.
"I didn’t realize until I met her that she was a voice I’d had in my head for as long as I remember," Taylor-Joy told The Guardian. "I’m goofier and lighter-hearted than Beth – but we have a lot of the same struggles and at our core, we’re pretty similar. I was heartbroken when I had to stop playing her. I’m just glad I got to spend seven hours with her. If it had been a two-hour movie, I would’ve had to be dragged out kicking and screaming."
10. And finally, she has no time for two-dimensional female roles.
"I’ve been very lucky, actually, in terms of the team that I have around me, who have filtered out most of those roles," she told The Guardian. "Most of the women not only that I’ve been lucky enough to play but that I’ve read are quite complex, messy, interesting human beings – but then again I shouldn’t be the anomaly here, I should be the norm. Definitely, whenever I’ve got a girlfriend role, I’ve sent it back being like ‘Eh? Why?’"
Are you a fan of Anya Taylor-Joy?